Actual Iowa Study Determines Whether Nice Guys Finish Last
As the old adage often goes, "nice guys finish last". But is it true? "Nice" guys who lose the girl to the jerk and lament about it anyone who will listen will always say "yes" but we're talking about this in a business sense, as a new study from the University of Iowa sought to determine the answer.
UI professor Kong Su spent "years" researching the matter (including sifting through a whopping 300 other studies on it), starting with a trio of doctoral students. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen:
The group looked at factors such as how employee actions were responded to, and if their niceness was reciprocated. They also looked at whether workers fall behind when they are focusing on being helpful toward others.
The group broke their findings into two different types of "nice". No, "Iowa nice" was not one of them. There is an "agreeable" nice, where you say yes to everything and help everyone all the time, even after a point where you're not getting helped in return. It's not much of a secret, this will cause you to burn out and in turn not be helpful or nice at all.
Then there is "socially motivated nice". This means still being willing to go out of your way to help, but also being proactive and offering suggestions in an organizational setting, stopping short of the "nice" that causes burnout.
So, to make a long and relatively obvious story short, I'm sure some of you will immediately call BS on this, but being nice in the office and willing to help others, if equally blended, can put you ahead in the workplace and even give you a leg-up for leadership roles. Just as long as you're not being a pushover, as in helping others too much at the expense of your own goals, success...and health. That kind of nice also makes you look weak to higher-ups.